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Building on a Victory

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The Sabres have scored 33 goals in 18 games, an average of 1.83 goals per game.

Their goal differential is the worst in the Eastern Conference at -13.

They have the worst home record in the league (2-4-2).

Throw all of that out the window. As witnessed Saturday night at KeyBank Center, statistics don’t play games. Players do.

Facing the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Sabres never gave up. Sporting a lineup card of six AHL callups and their backup goaltender, the Sabres eked out a 2-1 shootout victory, snapping their six-game losing skid.

The fact that they only scored one goal in sixty five minutes. Who cares? A win’s a win.

“It’s a win we desperately needed against one of the better teams, if not the best team in the league,” said Coach Dan Bylsma.

“Just to get that win, it’s good on the psyche,” said Captain Brian Gionta.

As incredible as the injuries have decimated this crew and as inept as the offense has been, what’s more astonishing is the fact that they’re only five points out of a wild card spot.

Nearly a quarter of the way into the season, with a record of six wins and twelve losses (6-8-4), this motley lineup of NHL and AHL players is only a decent win streak out of seeing post season action.

Multiple sources have stated General Manager Tim Murray is working the phones, trying to make his team better. Trouble is, every GM in the league knows Murray’s situation. It’s not like they’re all sitting around wondering how they can help him. If Murray is able to make a deal, he’ll likely have to overpay with personnel since he has little cap room to maneuver.

Even when completely healthy, the team still needs to add a legitimate top four defenseman. Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson have been providing more than adequate goaltending. Nilsson now has a sparkling 1.74 goals against average and a .951 save percentage and would be a good bet to start Monday when the Flames visit KeyBank Center.

This team is getting chances. At some point, things will even out. Bounces will go their way. Shots will find the twine instead of the post. And we can stop using terms like snakebitten. Oh, and healthy players will return.

“This was a huge confidence boost. Hopefully, we can take this win with us and continue the path, continue to develop and improve our game,” said Sabres goaltender Anders Nilsson.

 

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